Good News Reflections:
Making scripture meaningful to your daily life
by Terry Modica
“The Holy Spirit gives us faith as a gift to keep us moving forward on the path of holiness.”
Good News Reflection for:
Monday, Christmas Weekday
Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church
January 2, 2023
I want to be Your instrument, my Lord, to prepare Your way. Empower me for this commission, and praised be You, Lord, for what you will do! Amen.
Today’s Saint Quote & Prayer:
1 John 2:22-28
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
Going straight to heaven
In today’s Gospel reading, John the Baptizer is calling out to everyone who will listen — including you and me! — in the wilderness of our struggles and sufferings, and he says: “Make straight the way of the Lord!”
Often, our journey through life is like wandering through a thick forest, zig-zagging here and there trying to find clearings in the underbrush. We cannot see where we’re headed. We feel lost. Maybe we are lost! We’re certainly confused.
At other times, it’s like our path has too many twists and unexpected turns. We detour into mountains of obstacles and oceans of overwhelming problems that could drown us.
So, is John telling us that we need to become a road paving company and build a straight route through life in order for Jesus to come to us?
No. He’s already arrived!
John baptized with water to cleanse people from their sins. It was a baptism of repentance, but it was not the baptism that Jesus gave to the Church. It wasn’t complete. It’s not a sacrament. Repentance is only half of the equation, because it’s what we do. In the full baptism that Jesus provides, God does something, too.
Christian baptism is a covenant of promises and commitment. The first part of the ceremony is our responsibility: We reject Satan and all his ways, we profess our faith in God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and we enter into the community of the Church. If it happened when we were infants, our parents and godparents committed us to this lifestyle on our behalf. It then became their responsibility to raise us in the faith so that our side of the covenant would take hold.
We renew our commitment to this covenant whenever we attend someone else’s baptism and whenever we profess the Creed during Mass. (Note: I said “profess”, not “recite”. Reciting the words is mere lip service. Professing comes from the heart.)
The rest of the baptismal ceremony is God’s responsibility: The Lord comes to and into the person being baptized. From that moment on, we have all the love of the Father, all the benefit of the sacrifice of Jesus, and all the anointing of the Holy Spirit to help us make straight the way we walk on our journey to heaven.
One of the signposts on the road is found in today’s first reading. As long as we don’t reject the baptismal promise of eternal life by denying the Lord, the anointing of the Holy Spirit helps us learn what is true. This anointing makes straight the way of the Lord. The Holy Spirit gives us discernment to know good from evil, if we pay attention. The Holy Spirit gives us faith as a gift to keep us moving forward on the path of holiness despite mountains of obstacles and oceans of overwhelming challenges.
At the start of this new year, let us recommit ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s anointing so that we can walk straight on crooked roads.
To help you reflect further on this, go to our Faith Booster, “Jesus wants to increase your faith” @ https://wordbytes.org/faith-booster-minis/jesus-wants-to-increase-your-faith/
2022 by Terry A. Modica
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